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Assessing the Amazon River's sensitivity to deforestation

observations over a long enough time period for us to understand the River system. So this model, by letting us simulate the entire river through time, has helped us learn much about how the river flow and flooded area react to year-to-year variations in climate."

Currently entering a third phase of study, a model of the Amazon River and floodplain will be combined with estimates of future deforestation to understand how humans may be affecting the Amazon. Coe says, "This research will provide us with a better understanding of how sensitive the Amazon river is to human activities and can provide government managers and civil society with a tool for analyzing the costs and benefits of different land-use policies and help plan future settlement, land use and conservation priorities."

"This third phase is particularly exciting because we are now combining what we have learned about the physical River with human activities on the land surface, such as deforestation and agriculture," says Coe. This novel linkage of social and physical sciences will provide a better understanding of the consequences for the River of a range of land use policy options in Amazonia, from current business-as-usual development trends to improved governance strategies leading into the mid-21st century. "It is that improved understanding of how human decisions about land use directly impact the River and its ecosystems, which can help people make more informed decisions for the future of Amazonia," he adds.


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Source:Woods Hole Research Center


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